Critical Care Transport Nurses Day

Nurses play vital roles in all aspects of patient care. While most people think of the responsibilities nurses at beside or in a doctor’s office, Critical Care Transport Nurses deliver life-saving care while in-motion, working in the confined spaces of ambulances and aircraft.

Critical Care Transport Nurses Day is celebrated annually on February 18 and recognizes the uniqueness of what transport nurses do and the difference they make in the lives of their patients.

These nurses are part of a team that provides care to critically ill and injured patients at the scene of accidents and during transport between facilities in aircraft and ambulances. These professionals bring the skills of a critical care nurse to the patient, providing care and comfort during transport.

Jenna Schug, a Critical Care Transport Nurse, began working as an emergency room nurse for 8 years before deciding to try something new in June of 2021 when she became a Critical Care Transport Nurse with Aspirus MedEvac.

“It is always a different patient scenario which is a draw to the job but can also be a challenge,” says Jenna.

Transports can vary by urgency level. Some transports involve a seriously ill patient to receive initial care after an accident, a patient with a bodily injury or a health event (heart attack or stroke) and even a pregnant mother who can’t make it to a hospital or birthing center.

Other transports involve caring for stable patients who are being moved between facilities with different levels of care for additional testing, surgery or therapy.

“We might do a lights and sirens run for someone that is actively having a heart attack and then the next run may be transporting a patient to another facility to have surgery who is in a non-life-threatening condition. In a job like this, you never know what kind of call you’ll get,” says Jenna. 

As a critical care transport nurse, critical thinking skills are essential. Time is a very crucial element and can be the difference between life or death. Every second of available time is used to care for the patient.

“Having emergency care experience before deciding on this career path was very helpful,” says Jenna. “Although the fast past environment is still an element of both, working at a hospital is very different then working in a truck or helicopter. There are still some limitations, which is why critical thinking skills are so important.”

No matter the environment, critical care transport nurses must work well on a team, especially through collaboration and communication. In high pressure situations, being confident and experienced enough to make accurate split-second decisions is critical to providing the best care to patients.

“My favorite part about working with MedEvac is my team. We all work really well together, and we know and trust each other. You build a bond when you work in an environment like this that is pretty awesome,” says Jenna. 

Although, working in critical care may have its challenges. Jenna says that the patients are what she enjoys most about being a critical care transport nurse.

She says, “the patients are generally so thankful and happy to see us. You create a unique bond during the small amount of time you’re with them. It’s a very special experience and it’s why I love what I do.”